Better days are coming – they are called Saturday and Sunday!

24 May Better days are coming – they are called Saturday and Sunday!

2019 may indeed prove to be the year of the slug in most of our gardens. I don’t usually have a slug problem in my garden of benign neglect as I don’t have an irrigation system and often don’t water when I should, but this year with an endless amount of rainfall over the previous 30 days, I already know a bumper crop of the shell-less mollusks with their voracious hunger and telltale trails of slime will be in my future. What’s a gardener to do?

Slugs do most of their damage by feeding in evenings and early mornings. Their favorite fodder is anything and everything green – not kidding. Nothing is safe: foliage, flowers, fruit, and even some seeds are fair game.

Don’t water late in the day, that will only encourage bad behavior, making things more moist during play time for slugs.

Eliminate their hiding places. Wilted or slightly decaying foliage left in the garden can provide perfect hiding places. This week, now that things have dried out and I can get into the beds, a more ruthless approach to cutbacks than normal is scheduled, since the extreme rains caused so much excess, often floppy, growth.

Don’t over-mulch. Two to three inches of mulch is desirable; layering on thicker amounts than about 3 inches just invites damp conditions that slugs love, plus it provides a great place to hide.

Set out safe baits like Bonide Slug Magic, an iron-phosphate formulation. These pellets are an all weather formula that make slugs disappear! They are biodegradable and safe for use around pets and wildlife, worms and beneficials. I like that it can be used in fruit and vegetable gardens also. Other barriers, like copper strips (I would need 20 miles of this – so no I’ve never tired them) or Diatomaceous earth (not the kind rated for use in pool filters, but the untreated kind for garden use) are also said to be effective, but the latter is scary-dusty (wear a mask) and needs to be reapplied after each rain (again, no, not going to work for me).

Be brutal. (Take anti-nausea drugs before attempting, as needed, LOL.) Hand-pick and squash as many as you can, or drown them. A friend who’s somewhat slug-intolerant, even slugicidal, snips them in half with shears. Brutal but effective. Salt works as well, but at this point I’d need a shaker the size of a grain silo and I could be on patrol with it many hours each day.

Drunken Slugs
Slugs and snails are apparently attracted to beer. If you take a small container like a tuna tin, fill it with beer, and set it on the ground. The slugs will be attracted to the beer, go for a sip, fall in and drown. Don’t submerge the top of the tin even with the soil level or you might also kill ground beetles which eat slugs. Keep rims at least 1″ above soil level.

Slug beer traps only attract slugs in the surrounding few feet, so you need lots of them to be effective. Do beer traps really work? First off you’ll need lots of fresh beer and not wine (so clearly they won’t work for me). The slugs are attracted to yeast not alcohol. The slug beer traps do seem to work but there are some limitations because they only work over a very short distance and most most slugs will just enjoy the beer and leave. Maybe, they will have a hangover the next day and leave your Hostas alone?

It is also that time of year again when those tiny whining noises can be heard buzzing by your ear. Mosquitoes are back! You can keep these pests at bay by using nature’s own recipe for effective mosquito repellents.

It is a matter of comfort to keep the mosquitoes away, but it is also a matter of your family’s safety. By keeping the mosquito population around your house to a minimum, you reduce the risk of being exposed to mosquito-borne diseases.

Tell those mosquitoes to bug off by fighting them naturally. Avoid chemicals by planting a mosquito repellent garden. Read about our top choices for mosquito-repelling plants below.

Citronella Scented Geraniums
Scented geraniums are our most popular mosquito repelling plant. The oils on the foliage is lemon and citronella scented. They also have beautiful blooms with a strong fragrance that keep several types of pests away. These fast growing plants like warm, sunny, and dry areas and do well in containers and windowboxes.

Basil
Basil is one of the handiest plants around. Add it to your favorite meal, drink or simply enjoy its wonderful smell. One of the biggest perks is that it emits a mosquito-repelling aroma without having to crush the leaves. Prevent mosquito bites by rubbing a handful of basil leaves on exposed areas of the skin.

Marigolds
Marigolds have earned the “most pungent” superlative from the plants on this list. Their smell has not only proven to be offensive to mosquitos, but also to rabbits, deer and some people. Despite the smell, their luminous orange and yellow petals brighten up your garden. They enjoy full sun and fertile soil. A major plus is that marigolds make great companion plants for tomatoes, protecting against other insects that eat the plants.

Lavender
Have you ever noticed that insects or even rabbits and other animals have never decimated your lavender plant? It is because of their lovely fragrance, which comes from its essential oils that are found on the leaves of the plant. It is even argued that lavender oil hinders a mosquito’s ability to smell! This plant is very tough and drought-resistant once established, and only needs full sun and good drainage. Add vibrant purple to your garden by planting lavender.

Rosemary
Rosemary, a member of the mint family, will most definitely keep the mosquitoes away. This Mediterranean favorite is one of the most aromatic herbs you can grow. Grow in full sun and water when dry. Although you don’t need to prune, you can cut back branches to help your rosemary bush stay in shape. Both fresh cuts and dry cuts are effective in repelling mosquitoes. Add rosemary to your summer fire pit so when it burns it gives off incense that is offensive to mosquitoes. You can also make rosemary into oils, add it to meals, or even make natural repellents.

With the onset of many mosquito-borne diseases, we know how important it is to keep your yard safe for your family. We’ve got an array of flea, tick and mosquito control products to give you a peace of mind in the backyard this season. We love the Mosquito Beater, a line of natural and traditional products from Bonide which comes in an easy to use shaker canister and contains Geranium Oil, Cedar Oil, Lemon Grass Oil, Garlic and Citronella Oil.

Fingers crossed for some beautiful summer weather to be headed our way soon!
Michelle and Team Lakeview